Frau Fiber is introduced to the Minister of Culture, of Haiti, Marie Joslin Lassergue. Minster Lassergue, stated, “this is good for her people”. She inquires how she can get a Made in Haiti bag. Frau Fiber responds, “With a purchase you get a free bag”. The Minster says, “I will purchase something”, she looks around, chooses a burnt orange gathered mini skirt, and one of her body guards puts 20$ (4, 5$ USD) into Frau Fibers hand. Cameras flash and the visit is over.
Archive for December, 2009|Monthly archive page
16 December 2009
Garments are well received by the Grand Rue community, Eugene Andrea Grand Rue Artist, is seen here wearing a hat made from waste band of trousers.
Leah Gordon, Co-Curator tries on a Voodoo Dress.
Through out the day there were many happy customers!
“Haitians are just poor capitalists”
Port au Prince, Haiti
Frau Fiber and Rodrique her translator where seen on the Grand Rue waiting for a Tap Tap, to the iron market, in search for a straw hat to protect her from the Haitian sun. A Tap Tap is the Port au Prince public bus system that is privately operated by individual drivers; with their own vibrantly decorated vehicles, many of which bear slogans praising god’s love! This private system is good for the riders as it keeps the price competitive, only 5 goudes, or about 10 cents US. Upon arrival they were met with an array of items for sale, meat, produce, voodoo candles, herbs and Haitian handy crafts. Upon departure Frau Fiber’s was seen wearing the perfect hat to keep the sun off, Frau Fiber was quoted as saying “Shopping in the Iron Market has been one of the many mediated experiences I have experienced during my stay in Haiti”.
In the five days sense her arrival, Frau Fiber has observed an immense amount of unregulated trade, where the street vendor prevails. When discussing this with Rodrique, he said, “Haitians are just poor capitalists.” Although she is discovering not all Haitians are poor. Frau Fiber finds herself becoming infected with this capitalistic attitude, as she discovers what ways of developing textile production jobs in Haiti, merging as she pepe (US apparel waste) and fair wages. How is a fair wage defined, minimum wage is Haiti has just been raised to 5.50 a day, and she’s paying her workers between 7-50, depending on the skill level.
It’s challenging to be a textile activist and a global apparel entrepenure.
Today in Port au Prince, Frau Fiber confronted doing business in a country where there is no regulation? It is clear many who flock to countries like Haiti where anything goes, see this as the ideal environment to have a company in the red, built on the backs of a work force desperate for a jobs. So why not take advantage?
Frau Fiber, being a former textile worker has experienced the pressure of apparel production and comes to Haiti, attempting to develop a business model of collaboration between two textile workers, sharing each of their individual experiences, of coarse at times this is difficult, and today it seemed as if MADE IN HAITI teetered on the brink of collapse, as Frau Fiber and Jonas discovered what it means to collaborate, in a country still trying to overcome slavery.
The pursuit of collaboration proved fruit full over a bundle of Pepe, and at the end of the day, each left the Grand Rue, filled with ideas about how the garments will be remade. Work will begin at 8am tomorrow.
International garment news correspondent
Thursday, Frau Fiber began her three-week visit to Haiti. She was greeting by The “Western Union” RaRa band, and she was extensively questioned by the boarder control, about the reason for her stay, and the amount of money she was carrying. Concluding a one-hour wait for luggage, she was warmly greeted by two representatives from the Grand Rue. The Grand Rue is a Ghetto in the middle of Port au Prince. During her stay she will be exploring possibilities for apparel production in the region, transforming Pepe (second hand clothing imported from US) into garments reflecting the spirit of the Haitian people. During Frau Fiber’s initial visit, she was introduced to Jonas the Tailor. Further meetings are scheduled this week to discuss the possibilities of future development. She also toured the local industry of wood workers producing crafts for the tourism industry of other Caribbean countries. Frau Fiber was impressed by the ingenuity of the cottage industry, which is in place in the Grand Rue, and was quoted as saying “it is essential to build on the structure which is already in place, in order to further support the many needs of the population.” Some of the obvious basic needs to be addressed are, composting toilets, clean water, and regular electricity.